The Indian Residential Schools Truth, Reconciliation and Policy Change in Canada: Dr. Marie Wilson, TRC Commissioner

Dene Nahjo is proud to partner with the NWT Regional Group of the Institute of Public Administration of Canada (IPAC NWT) to host a presentation by Dr. Marie Wilson on her experience as Commissioner with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) of Canada.

The TRC was mandated in part to prepare a comprehensive historical record on the policies and operations of the Indian Residential Schools and produce a report including recommendations concerning the school system and its legacy.  

After six years of comprehensive research and engagement, on June 2, 2015 the Commissioners issued a summary report and 94 ‘Calls to Action’, directed at all levels of government in Canada, intended to redress the legacy of residential schools and advance the process of reconciliation.

In terms of achieving policy change, other past public commissions in Canada have had mixed results.  In this session, Commissioner Marie Wilson will discuss the role of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the purpose of the ‘Calls to Action’, what is necessary in order for them to achieve effective policy change in Canada, and the prospects of this occurring.

“As a community of public administrators in Canada, it is essential that we understand the legacy of Indian Residential Schools on the work that we do in every domain of government.  The Truth and Reconciliation Commission has done immeasurable service in bringing to light that dark history and identifying 94 ‘Calls to Action’ for Canadians to move forward on the path of reconciliation. IPAC-NWT is pleased to partner with Dene Nahjo on this important event,” says Christian Bertelsen, IPAC NWT Chair.

“Dene Nahjo is proud to partner with IPAC-NWT in highlighting the importance of implementing the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission through public policy in Canada,” says Nina Larsson, a member of Dene Nahjo’s steering committee. “We deeply value the work of the TRC and the contributions of Dr. Marie Wilson to the country and the North, and encourage all those who have not read the final TRC report and its 94 recommendations to do so.”

The event will take place November 10 from 12 to 1:30 p.m. at the Great Hall of the NWT Legislature. Attendees are asked to register online. Tickets are $20 for non-IPAC members.

All individuals with an interest in public service are welcomed to attend. This event is free for members of Dene Nahjo, IPAC and the Yellowknives Dene First Nations. Registration for non-members is $20 payable at the time of registration.

If you cannot attend, please consider following IPAC NWT on Twitter for live-tweeting of the event. This event will be recorded and posted on IPAC NWT’s YouTube Channel

Register here



marie wilsonDr. Marie Wilson brings to her role as Commissioner more than 30 years of experience as an award-winning journalist, trainer, and senior executive manager. She has also been a university lecturer, a high school teacher in Africa, a senior executive manager in both federal and territorial Crown Corporations, and an independent consultant in journalism, program evaluation, and project management.

As a journalist, Ms. Wilson worked in print, radio and television as a regional and national reporter. She was the first host of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation flagship television program, Focus North, and the corporation’s senior manager for northern Quebec and the northern Territories. As a Regional Director for the CBC, she launched the first daily television news service for northern Canada, and developed the Arctic Winter Games and True North Concert series. She delivered training through the South African Broadcasting Corporation during that country’s transition to democracy, and served as an associate board member of what became the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network, APTN. Ms. Wilson is the recipient of many awards including an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from St. Thomas University in Fredericton, NB. She speaks English and French. Ms. Wilson and her husband Stephen Kakfwi have three children and four grandchildren.


ipac-logoIPAC is the premier organization in Canada dedicated to excellence in public service. With 17 regional groups across the country, IPAC brings together public servants from all orders of government as well as academics and students of public administration. The purpose of the NWT Regional Group is to nurture excellence in public service in the Northwest Territories. It is an impartial and representative local forum that is part of a national and international network of practitioners and scholars. IPAC recently published a book entitled Commissions of Inquiry and Policy Change that explores questions around why some commissions of inquiry result in policy changes and others do not.


Screen Shot 2015-10-23 at 2.30.30 PMDene Nahjo is a new generation of leaders and community builders working to advance social and environmental justice for northern peoples and promote indigenous leadership. By living, learning and celebrating our culture on the land through the guidance of elders, we strive to foster emerging leaders, strengthen relationships and create long-term, positive change in the North.

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